Never believe that a few caring people can not change the world, for, indeed, that's all who ever have. Margaret Mead
Between Summer Academy Sessions, come yourself, and
please encourage your congregations, organizations and friends to join
DISD's McShan Elementary School 8307 Meadow Road
for one-on-one refugee
English tutoring starting September 18,
8am to 3pm Monday through
Thursday each week during the coming school year.
MIRACLE AT MCSHAN!
Dan Micciche - Great commentary by McShan Elementary School tutor Therese Tetzel in the Dallas Morning News, November 16, 2017:
This volunteer tutor program, with an army of over 100 volunteers led byDalene L Buhl,
helped McShan Elementary score the highest score out of 150 elementary schools on Dallas ISD's school effectiveness index.
This accomplishment is even more remarkable because McShan, located in Vickery Meadow, has a large population of refugees.
Here's the article:
What 10 immigrant children taught this 61-year-old retiree
"I volunteered to teach K- through fourth-graders at a summer reading
school. This was significant for a couple of reasons: I am a 61-year-old
woman who never had children, and the only experience I've had in
education was working as a reading tutor for an hour a week. I was
assigned to a class of about 10 kids, all from immigrant families. They
were between the ages of 6 and 10 and had varying degrees of skills in
their heritage language, English and reading. That's right, unlike me,
all of these children could speak multiple languages.
reading program has a seven-year history and is well-organized,
well-attended and, most important, well-intentioned. I went through a
half-day orientation with about 50 others. My expectation was to teach
the kids the way I had been taught, the good old American way! Also, my
expectation was the kids would have a difficult time adapting to that
method because it would be new to them.
Nevertheless, I threw myself in to try to help these children learn English and to read at the same time. Was I naïve.
Here is what I learned, or better yet, here's what the kids taught me:
Immigrant children are being taught the same American curriculum with
all the customs, idiosyncrasies and inferences as U.S. children.
Yes, I know you probably think that's the right thing to do. But allow me to give you an example of this myth.
If 6-year-old Johnny went to the Congo and was trying to learn Swahili,
would he understand the concept of International Francophonie Day, a
Congolese holiday? Would Johnny be able to pass a test on the subject if
the books were published in the Swahili language and culture? Oh, and
the teacher speaks only Swahili.
Let's turn it around. Imagine
you are a 10-year-old Ugandan immigrant struggling to learn English. If
you were handed a book in English about Halloween and told you would be
tested on the concept, how do you think you would do? By the way, all of
the books are in English only. (The school where I tutored represented
Children of immigrant parents are resilient, brave
and well-behaved and have five times more to learn in the same time
than children born in the U.S.
Imagine that at 6 years old, you
are put on an airplane with or without people you know. You land in a
foreign country, and you can't speak the language well. At some point
you are taken to a school with hundreds of kids you don't know, and no
one looks much like you. Your parent or guardian walks away. You can
barely communicate with the teachers, let alone the other kids. You
can't read the books or understand the instructions. On top of all that,
it may be the middle of the school year. And yet you are expected to do
as well as all the other kids and move to the next grade.
These kids show real bravery. And they do this while behaving politely and responding positively to the teacher.
Children of immigrant parents want their teachers to show a soft and caring side.
It's amazing how the students know whether we care. It shows in the way
they look at us, in how they answer our questions and how they agree to
continue to work in their handbooks for just a few more minutes when
Instructing as though you were their grandparent can make
a tremendous difference. I experienced this when a fifth-grade Ugandan
girl whom I had tutored saw me at the summer reading group. She threw
her arms around me on the first day and wouldn't let go. The grandparent
approach really works.
Children of immigrant parents know more than me.
The kids and I were learning life lessons at the same time. It was
humbling. I probably would have been defeated by this level of
difficulty at such an early age. My vague ideas about the image and
purpose of immigrants were dead wrong.
These kids are so much
stronger, courageous and experienced in life than I could have imagined.
While we as Americans espouse a philosophy of up-by-the-bootstraps,
charge-ahead, hardworking attitude that leads directly to success, we
have no idea what that means. These kids truly exemplify this ethos.
These kids are not prepared for what they are going to face in the
schoolroom, but they want to be there. And their parents want them to be
there. They have earned my respect and gratitude, and I can't wait for
next summer's class."
Therese Tetzel is a retired marketing and
sales professional. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.
LEE MCSHAN JR. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS EARNED THE #1 POSITION OF ALL 156
ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN THE SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS INDEX, WHICH TRANSLATES
TO GREATEST IMPACT ON STUDENT GROWTH!
THANK YOU TO EACH OF OUR CARING READING HOMEROOM AND SUMMER READING
ACADEMY TUTORS, MCSHAN FACULTY AND STAFF, DISD EDUCATION SPECIALISTS,
AND ALL OUR WONDERFUL SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS! YOU HAVE A DIRECT IMPACT
ON OUR CHILDREN ! YOU ARE TRANSFORMATIONAL!
you have ever doubted the effect of community involvement on student
outcomes, take a look at Lee McShan Jr. Elementary School in Vickery
Meadow, which had the highest score on Dallas ISD's school effectiveness
index out of 150 elementary schools.
One big reason for the school's success is Dalene L Buhl
and the army of over 100 volunteers she has recruited to be reading
tutors at the school. They have worked hand in hand with an outstanding
team of educators led by Principal Dayanna Kelly.
McShan is one of the highest poverty schools in the district: 98
percent of the students are economically disadvantaged; it has a large
refugee population; and 87 percent of the students at the school are
English language learners. The "school effectiveness index"
is a measure of performance of the school's effect on student outcomes
by controlling for differences the school cannot control, such as
socio-economic status, neighborhood characteristics, and prior-year
academic levels. I have posted in the comments a Dallas Morning News Article from last year describing the volunteer program at McShan. Holly Hacker Thank you, Dalene and team! If you would like to volunteer at a Dallas ISD elementary school, go to this link: https://dallasisd.voly.org/causes/index.html
VMSRA Legacy Student/Youth Leader and CONRAD HS Freshman
VMSRA2017 (and youngest ever)
Youth Leader of the Year,
earning a $500 scholarship!
And coming soon...
Recruiting Tutors, Youth Leaders and Assistant Youth Leaders
for VMSRA 2018
Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Academy
July 12 thru August 9
Jack Lowe Elementary, 7000 Holly Hill
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays only
7am to 12noon
Special thanks to DMN Education Reporter, Holly Hacker
We enjoyed a splendid fall day during our first McShan Reading Homeroom Saturday School
October 1st. Take a peek, won't you?
We are grateful to each of you for your extraordinary underpinning of this valuable, collaborative effort among
our many community partners.
With your continued support and guidance,
we look forward to an even greater VMSRA 2018!
Our FABULOUS VMSRA 2015 YOUTH LEADERS
[Confession: we goofed and did not take a 2016 group shot!
Our group wouldn't fit on the staircase, anyway!]]
Youth Leaders 2014
The Vickery Meadow Summer Reading Academy (VMSRA)
instructs students during their traditional DISD Summer Break.
VMSRA brings together English reading and writing skills, and personal development in classroom discipline, independent work ethics, and self-confidence for good education.
Please register by going to our
Anissa Hodo, Joan Gremont, Caitlyn Hodo - Youth Leader of the Year 2015, Dalene Buhl
We are a volunteer staff of youth and adults.
Our Mission is to
further Vickery Meadow students’ English reading and writing skills, and personal
development in classroom discipline, independent work ethics, and